Organizational Consultation XVII The Chartering Process (Part Two)
Step Six: Convening the Charter Dinner and Establishing the Mentoring Program
Gary was pleased with the outcomes of the luncheon meetings and looked forward with enthusiasm to the charter dinner. We suggested that this was a good time to begin planning for the mentoring program. This program would ensure the continuing commitment of new employees to the mission, vision, values and purposes of the organization. Furthermore, Gary needed to identify a mechanism for sustaining work on the charter. It is critical that any charter be viewed as a living document, rather than as a dead, historical document that gets placed on a shelf. Gary asked that his Vice President for Human Resources establish a task force that would work with my team in creating the mentoring program. He also asked that the strategic planning group at New England Standard to take responsibility for keeping the charter up to date. I was asked to continue serving as a consultant to New England Standard, meeting on a quarterly basis with both Gary and the strategic planning group to ensure that the charter is not forgotten.
The charter dinner was held. Gary offered a few brief comments regarding the chartering process and the central role to be played by this document in the future life of New England Standard. He then signed the charter. All the other members of the administrative team then followed his lead and signed the charter. Subsequently, each employee came forward to sign the document. Several employees spontaneously made a few brief comments regarding their commitment to the company and their sense of pride in working at a company such as New England Standard. They spoke in a sincere manner and created an exceptional atmosphere of appreciation that lingered for many months in the company. As a result of the success of this initial charter dinner, yearly ceremonies were planned and enacted. New employees signed the charter and older employees spoke of their “recommitment” to the charter. The mentoring program was also established for new employees. Gary became a true believer in the chartering process because the activities of employees in New England Standard were consistently and enthusiastically aligned with a set of core statements regarding the organization’s fundamental intentions.
In these two essays we have offered a detailed description of the chartering process. We offer this detailed description to demonstrate that chartering is not an impractical exercise or organizational luxury intended only for organizations that are flush with time and money. Chartering is a systematic process that can produce tangible benefits for an organization and its leaders in the alignment of organizational activities and outcomes with the mission, vision, values and purposes of the organization. Chartering is an appreciative process that motivates employees, while also providing them with direction. Effective leaders in contemporary organizations can continually engage in the expansion of existing organizational intentions, while also continually clarifying those intentions that already exist in the organization.
The appreciative chartering process enables members of an organization to assess the range and implications of existing intentions, as well as discover new intentions that emerge naturally from, and in alignment with, existing intentions. Chartering is like appreciation. It focuses on both the past and future, while also being firmly grounded in present day realities. This is the fundamental reason why chartering is essential for any organization that wishes to be appreciative in character and that seeks to be successful in the complex and turbulent world of 21st Century life. Chartering can also become one of the most effective organizational improvement processes being advocated and assisted by appreciative organizational consultants.
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